Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

A request from some travelers, I forgot to introduce some useful apps that can makes your life easier to commute. Seoul subway and train can be confusing especially during the transferring and which exit to use. Special thanks to my friend, Amira, who introduce these apps to me. These apps are FOC and can be found in Apple itunes. I hope this tools can help you to plan out your itinerary.

1. Jihachul, Korea Subway Map For Iphone : Ipad | This apps helps you to plan the route to your destination. I even saw the Koreans using this apps! Even they can get lost in their own subway network. The advantage of this apps is no internet is required.

2. Learn Korean Phasebook For Iphone : Ipad | This apps provide basic phases that you need to communicate with the Koreans. A must have especially for haggling!

3.I Tour Seoul For Iphone | This apps provide the official guidebook places of interest in Seoul.Quite informative too.

4.Visit Korea For Iphone | Another similar apps that offer guidebook but this time in different regions of South Korea. If you decided to visit Busan. This might be useful.

5. Filer Lite For Iphone : Ipad | If you decided to keep your MsWord/MsExcel itinerary or document without using the internet or 3G, this apps is useful! It allows you to save it to your iphone or ipad in this apps so that you can view it without using any network support.

Useful Websites: Subway Real-time | Seoul MapGuide

And now back to the main post……… I have tonnes of pictures to share but I’ll select the interesting pictures to catch your attention. Soon after, I’ll be adding other photos in Seoul Gallery. Look out for the page!

There are 5 palaces itself in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all 5 palaces. Built in 1935,  it is known as the Northern Palace because it is located on furthest north compared to the rest of the palace. Without doubt, Gyeongbokgung is the must visit palace if you visit Seoul.

Getting there: Use exit #5 of Gyeongbokgung Station | Subway Line #3.

Opening Hours as followed: March to October 09:00-18:00 / November to February 09:00-17:00. Closed on TUESDAY. Each entry cost 3.000won. Don’t forget to witness the change of guard ceremony. Lookout for its schedule.

Panorama view of Gyeongbokgung Palace compound, Heungnyemun. Over the years, this palace has be going through restoration until recently in 2010

Gyeongbokgung Palace has 2 museum near its compound. The National Folk Museum and The National Palace Museum. The palace itself is huge! You need at least a day to tour this palace. I didn’t had the chance to fully explore both museum.

Gwanghwamun is the main gate of the palace.The king used the central arch, while the crown prince and officials entered through the openings on either side. Gwanghwamun was rebuilt in 1968 as a concrete structure and restored in 2010.

The weather was cold and windy. In fact, I had a hard time taking photos with my camera with my gloves on. While snapping away, I’m just in time for the Change of Guard (COG) Ceremony at the palace ground. I’m not too sure about the schedule but what I heard is  this ceremony happens every hour or 2. So do hang around at the entrance to watch the ceremony.

Military band accompanied the soldiers with military music during the COG.

Similar to the chinese, dragon is commonly found in most of the palace without a doubt. From the roof, ceiling, weapons and many more. There are different colours of outfit the soldiers wearing. I believe something got to do with the ranking. Enlighten me please.

FYI, these soldiers wear artificial bead and mustache.

Here’s a short clip that I’ve edited. An idea on how the ceremony looks like.

Door Entrance

Geunjeongjeon Hall. It is a Throne Hall, where the king granted audiences to his officials, presided over large official functions and met foreign envoys. Geunjeongjeon is the largest and most formal hall in Gyeongbokgung. The two-tier edifice stands on a high platform reached by stone steps. There is a spacious courtyard in front, where important events were held and corridors enclose it. (Royal Palace Kr)

Stones indicating rank at Geunjeongjeon Hall. The marks indicated where the court officials lined up in order of rank during official functions at Geunjeongjeon Hall.

The throne inside Geunjeongjeon Hall. The name “Geunjeongjeon,” the central building, means “diligence helps governance.”

Stone sculptures on the foundation of Geunjeongjeon. There are sculptures of 4 directional guardians and 12 Chinese zodiac animal signs at the corners of the foundation and on the banisters around the stairs.

This hall, symbolizing the state and the king, has a two-tierroof and the tops of the pillars are elaborately decorated.

Jangandang. Residence of the king. King Gojong liked the residence so much that he stayed there frequently with his queen. When the king and the queen did not reside in these quarters, portraits of preceding kings were housed there. In contrast to the intended purpose of relaxation. (Royal Palace Kr)

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion. As you can see the pond is frozen solid. An artificial islet was created in the middle of the pond, on which a hexagonal pavilion was built with the name Hyangwonjeong, meaning the “Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance” The bridge across the pond was named Chwihyanggyo, meaning “intoxicated with fragrance

Chwihyanggyo Bridge was the longest wooden bridge constructed on a pond during the Joseon Dynasty. Sadly, this bridge is out of bounds due to safety reasons.

Sajeongjeon Hall. Council Hall where the king routinely discussed national affairs with his court officials.

Jibokjae. King Gojong used the buildings as an art hall in which to enshrine royal portraits, a library and an audience hall for the reception of foreign envoys. Records show that in 1893 the king granted five audiences to foreign envoys from Great Britain, Japan and Austria. The architectural style of Jibokjae differs significantly from that of other palace buildings, clearly displaying the influence of Chinese architecture, which at that time was regarded as “modern” by Korean builders.(Royal Palace Kr)

Spot the Bird nest

Pine fruit can be found in many parts of the palace compound. I managed to keep some for souvenirs hehe

From far, you will be able to see this building. National Folk Museum of Korea presents over 4,000 historical artifacts that were used in the daily lives of ordinary Korean people. This is a free admission museum. Open everyday except Tuesday.

Operating hours as follows: March – October: 09:00 – 18:00
November – February: 09:00 – 17:00
May – Aug Saturdays & Sundays, holidays : 09:00 – 19:00

The museum is the best place to keep warm! There’s a cafe nearby and I had my latte there!

History of Korean People Exhibit. Sadly, this is the only exhibit I managed to see before closing :(

This exhibits focuses on the everyday goods and living spaces of the average person from the late 19th century, when Korea was first forced to open its ports, to the modern and contemporary times.

Open-air Exhibition at the front yard of the Museum offers diverse themes of Korean folk life that remind the Korean viewer of traditional rural life. This a replica of an old tram carriage.

Re-construction of shops from late Joseon. This is the best spot for photography. By the time I reached there, most visitors rushed to leave this place. However, I managed to snap as many photos until the guard told me off to leave the place immediately.

Barber shop

Re-construction of shops from late Joseon

This is how cafe looks like during the old days. Vintage sofa!

YES. old packaging of Ciggy! Arirang, a much famous brand here.

A tailor shop. Pink vintage Dress and shoes.

This poster remind me of Pan Am Tv series hehe

While I was walking to find the exit gate, I found this 2 interesting sculpture! Can anyone guess what does this sculpture represent? :p

Correct me if I’m wrong. This statues served as a protector and object for incantation.

I saw this upon exiting the museum. Interesting!!

I was looking for my way to the Subway. Apparently, I too the different exit and I asked these policeman for the nearest subway entrance. Gyeongbokgung palace is heavily patrol by the policemen all around the perimeter after closing hours.

Dongsibjagak Watchtower. With the demolition of the palace walls, it sits in the middle of a busy intersection.

Related articles: Arrival & Chungbu Market | N Seoul Tower | Nami Island | Shopping District & Cheonggyecheon | Changdeokgung & Changgyeonggung | Lotte World & Coex | Hello Kitty Cafe & Teddy Bear Museum | Iteawon & Seoul Central Mosque | Seoul Gallery

copyright 2013

15 Thoughts

  1. Lovely pictures! Seoul is on my ‘travel’ list and today I got some really great information from you. :) Thank you for sharing this information. :)

  2. cool photos and nice place! so much grander than Bangkok’s Grand Palace. And the reconstruction of the early life of the Koreans are superb. Talking about walking down the memory lane huh? Hehe. And the poster? Yaa, looks like Pan Am series. Haha.

      1. not really follow lah. hehe. ‘accidentally’ watched one whole episode of the series on AXN Beyond HD Channel while deciding which channel to watch.

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